By Ann Beattie
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679765004, 272pp.)
Publication Date: August 29, 1995
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
The now-classic, utterly unique voice of Ann Beattie is so dry it throws off sparks, her eye endowed with the emotional equivalent of X-ray vision. Her characters are young men and women discovering what it means to be a grown-up in a country that promised them they'd stay young forever. And here, in shapely, penetrating stories, Beattie confirms why she is one of the most widely imitated -- yet surely inimitable -- literary stylists of her generation.
In The Burning House, Beattie's characters go from dealing drugs to taking care of a bereaved friend. They watch their marriages fail not with a bang but with a wisecrack. And afterward, they may find themselves trading confidences with their spouses' new lovers. The Burning House proves that Beattie has no peer when it comes to revealing the hidden shapes of our relationships, or the depths of tenderness, grief, and anger that lie beneath the surfaces of our daily lives.
Born in 1947, Ann Beattie grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., attended college at American University, and went on to do graduate work in English literature at the University of Connecticut. She began writing stories out of frustration with her doctoral work. After rejecting twenty-two submissions, The New Yorker published Beattie's "A Platonic Relationship" in 1974, and Beattie became a regular contributor to the magazine. Her first collection of stories, Distortions, and her first novel, Chilly Scenes of Winter, appeared simultaneously in 1976 and initiated a long-standing critical debate as to whether Beattie's greater strength is in the story or the novel. All critics agree, however, on the uniqueness of her style and her uncanny ability to expose certain truths about contemporary life, particularly as it lived by those of her own generation and social class. She lives in Maine and Key West with her husband, the painter Lincoln Perry.
"Reads like a fresh bulletin from the front: We snatch it up, eager to know what's happening out there on the edge of that shifting and dubious no man's land known as interpersonal relationships."--The New York Times Book Review
"Burning brilliance.... This collection of short stories is the work of a writer with a dazzling gift.... Beattie's eye is clear, her ear finely tuned, her mind brilliantly odd.... A joy to read."--Chicago Sun-Times